The Biggest Winners

Obama’s election. For those under 30, it was a landslide.

Despite the news that Obama is considering the neoliberal Larry Summers for Treasury Secretary and former Senator Sam Nunn is aiding the transition process at the Pentagon, I am overjoyed and have a huge sense of pride for Obama’s election.

There are three critical reasons.

I became an activist in the 1960s because of the civil-rights movement, and with Obama’s election, we have crossed a gigantic racial barrier.

Obama’s broad-based support and his call for hope and reaching out to our higher ideals will make it much harder for mean-spirited right-wing politicians and talk-show radio personalities to spout their hateful rhetoric that so divides our country.

Most of all, Obama ran a campaign that inspired young people and minorities to vote in enormous numbers, as well as volunteer in an unprecedented way. Many braved long lines to be part of this historic moment.

Those 65 percent of voters under 30 who voted for Obama and reject cynicism, division, and intolerance will be our next generation of activists and leaders.

John Atlas is a founder of Shelterforce and board chair emeritus. He is the producer of ACORN and the Firestorm, a film directed by Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard and author of SEEDS OF CHANGE: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Anti-Poverty Community Group. He is also the former executive director of the Passaic County Legal Aid Society.


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